Garden Suite, Coach House, Secondary Dwelling…
Depending on where you live, a small, detached, rear yard dwelling might be called a laneway house, garden suite, carriage house, coach house, small suite, accessory dwelling unit, detached secondary suite, guest cottage or granny flat. These are all names for the same thing – a small self-contained building with kitchen, bathroom, living, sleeping and storage areas separate from the main house on a lot.
Smaller houses are becoming increasing popular in the Comox Valley. FORMATURA has some unique expertise in smaller housing, particularly when it comes to designing enjoyable, functional small spaces. As well, we are familiar with the nuances of what is feasible under our various municipal bylaws.
Interested in adding a dwelling to your property in Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland or the Comox Valley Regional District? We are experienced, knowledgable and can facilitate the entire process. Please take a few minutes to read this page and our Project Guide, then contact us to take the next step.
Why Build a Laneway House?
- Create a retirement residence for yourself, while you rent out your main house.
- Provide an affordable way for a family member to build a small house that meet their needs.
- Put extra yard space to good use generating cash flow.
- Take over space dedicated to an in-home secondary suite, and still generate rental income.
- Add a home office, workshop or studio that can be used for accommodation in the future.
What is a Good Laneway House Property?
- A lot that has a lane, is double-fronting or is a corner lot.
- A large rear yard where the laneway house will fill no more than 1/4 of the yard.
- An existing garage, visible from the street, that can be converted or replaced with a laneway home.
- The ability the maintain neighbours’ privacy and sunlight.
- Ideally, no need to cut down large mature trees, and room for an outdoor patio.
More Useful Information
Comox, Courteney, Cumberland and the Comox Valley Regional District all have their own development guidelines.
Comox’s Official Community Plan, Residential Detached Policy 188.8.131.52 supports development under the following conditions:
i. Owner occupation of either the principal dwelling or a coach house;
ii. Minimum site area of 500 square metres;
iii. Maximum building area of 70 square metres, for larger parcels (over 1,000 square metres) an
increase to 90 square metres may be considered, where appropriate;
iv. No increase in the maximum allowable parcel coverage; and
v. Siting of coach house in the rear yard or visually screened from the front yard.
Within the wording of Development Permit Area (DPA) #17 – Coach Houses, there are specific building guidelines for coach house construction. and siting on the property.
If your property and chosen Coach House design meet the criteria in set out in these standards, then a Development Permit is not required.
If your property is not zoned R3.3 SIngle-Family/Secondary Suite, you still need to apply for rezoning of your property to allow for a coach house. The Zoning Bylaw Amendment fee to allow a Coach House is $250.
If your property and chosen Coach House design do not meet the standard design guidelines, then a Development Permit Application and process will also be required.
Applications for Rezoning and for Development Permits are evaluated and decided on a site specific basis. Understanding the evaluation criteria and submitting a plan that suits accordingly is essential.
If you’ve read this far, you must be interested! Contact us to set up an initial meeting to discuss your project. The meeting usually takes about 1- 2 hours and is an opportunity to explore feasibility, compare ideas and decide if we want to work together.
There is no charge for this first meeting unless our meeting is outside of the Comox Valley. Then, travel costs will apply.
As every project is unique, making the best choices of “what to do” and “where to start” requires proper information, information we can help provide.